Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Comfort Theory: An Overview

In the light of current nursing shortage, health care system should find the means to address this problem in order to continue achieving the goal, which is to provide the optimum level of health of a person or client. 

During the 1900’s, comfort is considered the goal of both nursing and medicine because it is believed that comfort will lead to recovery. Comfort is a complex term and titled as one of the distinguishing characteristic of the nursing profession yet, it has never been conceptualized, studied and researched in the field.

In this part of the blog, you will notice that we include certain terms about the theory in which you may get confused of but don’t worry because each will be discussed further as you read the other posts in this blog.

Pioneering the work on theory of comfort in nursing is Dr. Katharine C. Kolcaba PhD, RN, an American nursing scholar, a clinical nurse specialist who attained several scholastic awards and achievements. With her collated readings, knowledge, experiences and researches... she was able to provide a holistic definition for comfort not only in nursing but for the whole health care team.

The theory of comfort is one of the many middle range nursing theory because it is focused on a limited dimension of the reality of nursing. It is formulated to provide guidance for everyday practice and scholarly research rooted in the discipline of nursing. 

According to Kolcaba, Comfort has 3 existing forms... Relief, Ease and Transcendence. It also includes 4 contexts in which patient comfort can occur... Physical, Psycho-spiritual, Environmental and Socio-cultural.

Similar to all other Nursing Theories, Kolcaba was also able to apply the 4 concepts in the metaparadigm of nursing (Person, Health, Nursing and Environment) according to her theory.  In this theory, she proposed that the term “Nursing Interventions” should be changed to “Comfort Interventions” as to broaden its application and not specify the work only to nurses.  

Her theory also talked about comfort considered to be a positive concept and is associated with activities that nurture and strengthen patients.
Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort has a real potential to direct the work and thinking of all health care providers within one institution since, it appears that the concept of comfort is universally present in all culture and appropriate universal goal for healthcare. 

As her study continues, it is speculated that if Comfort Theory is adapted to include all health care providers and implemented as an institution-wide framework for practice... Comfort for patients will be enhanced further, thus, increasing their health-seeking behaviour--- A win-win situation for the patient, the hospital/institution and the society.

There are a lot of benefits we can get in learning and applying Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort as it promotes greater understanding and collaboration between health care team members addressing the current shortage in health care team. In addition, it will improve societal acceptance and appreciation of the health institution and increase patient satisfaction.


March, A., & McCormack, D., (April 2009). Nursing theory-directed healthcare: Modifying kolcaba's comfort theory as an institution-wide approach. Holistic Nursing Practice. 23(2). Retrieved from
Smith, M., & Liehr, P. (2008). HMiddle range theory for nursing second edition. Retrieved from


  1. I enjoyed your site and it is very helpful. I'm submitting a undergrad paper and would like to cite your figures on the Conceptual Framework and the Taxonomic Structure. May I do so?
    Please respond to
    Rebecca RN, Dayton, Ohio

  2. I am presently writing a paper on the evaluation of the comfort theory for graduate study. I believe the theory is congruent to the nursing standards however, I cannot find any articles contributing to my statement. I would need some help.
    Thank you

  3. I am interested in using the comfort theory for a paper in my graduate Ontology class. I need direction on how the theory would apply to the spirituality of the elderly. I need to apply this to my practice and present the "findings" at a scholarship day in May 2012.

    Thanks for any direction or help,
    Ann Marie Nolan, RN, BSN, BC

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  7. KaurOctober 30, 2017 at 1:32 AM
    As a Longman dictionary says:"Comfort is a feeling of being physically relaxed and satisfied, so that nothing is hurting you, making you feel too hot or cold etc. So, a state of being relaxed is the best remedy for recovering patients. I think this idea will be good for goal statement for nursing as a main idea in nursing career. And Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort is a proof of it.